Before time began, God created. This creating process was work. After He created the heavens and the earth, God rested. The outcome of His labor was good and beautiful. It was life-giving and healthy. It was meaningful. Where an industry is built on goals that cannot be anything but in opposition to the nature and commands of God, it is not good. Industry that inherently brings idolatry, destruction, perversion, lying, theft, and death are not from God. This type of industry (e.g. human trafficking) is not something to redeem, but something to eliminate.
A sense of accomplishment can and should be found in a job well done. Just as God found His creation to be good, those He created should in turn find the product or service that they deliver a pleasing thing to reflect on. Taking delight in the outcome of productivity ultimately points back to Him. Each task, project, conversation, and day at work done well is about the glory of God. When pointing more clearly to the glory of God, it is natural for an individual to take more delight in the outcome.
Work that is consistent with Scripture is a good thing. Any occupation or enterprise that brings order, beauty, health, opportunity, justice, safety, reconciliation, or hope to others are consistent with the nature and commands of God. Work that makes these real, points back to God, His design for, and His reign over His creation.
Throughout Scripture, work is often referred to as a metaphor for gospel understanding. Examples of this include Jesus’ parables about the sower and seed as well as his story of the servants that choose whether or not to invest their talents. He uses work as a way for listeners to understand the gospel. Additionally, work functions as the vehicle for understanding. The One who teaches about the shepherd and sheep in the gospel of John is the Lamb of God that was first worshipped by real shepherds. These workers understood the gospel clearer because of their work and the way the good news was revealed. The gospel became clear to Zacchaeus and all that observe that story because of his vocation and the transforming power of Christ to change his work approach moving forward and redeem the history of his past work practices.
The sending of God is evident in the whole of Scripture. Any confusion that could remain is resolved in the repeated mandate to take the gospel, which is recorded both in example and instruction in the gospels and Acts. Christ-followers are to take the gospel to others everywhere. This includes high-rise towers and enterprises both among the cities where we reside as well as among the nations.
Work provides a context and mechanism to set things right. From interpersonal relations and policies dealing with the workforce to products, services, and gifts to the communities, work, both as a place and a business entity, is a powerful force for good. For example, for a business to create jobs and train people for those jobs where there is a lack of hope is an outworking of Jesus’ prayer that things would be a reflection here of the way things are there–’on earth as it is in heaven.’
A massive amount of each individual’s life is devoted to work. Because of this and the historic lack of development of recognizing and valuing the importance of work historically, this area needs specific attention. However, the work of a Christ-follower is part of the whole life, all of which is to be lived in light of the gospel. As a person is transformed more in the image and ways of Christ in their work, they will be more Christ-like in their family, among their neighbors, in community with other believers, etc. The opposite of this should be true as well. As one grows in Christ, he should be more Christ-like in and through work.